In this post, several Elon students share their experiences in around 100 words. As you read, stop to think: Where was I on Sept. 11? How did I feel? You’ll probably find your story isn’t much different than these….
I remember when my teacher walked back into the classroom after our principal pulled her. She gave all of us the same look my mom did back at my house later that day. I didn’t understand what was going on, even as F-15 planes flew right over our house. I was ignorant to the fact that ground zero was a mere 35 miles away from me. My parents were out of the house often, going to church for funerals and memorials. I didn’t know how to be upset because I didn’t believe this disaster was real. In my 4th grade mind, it was impossible.
On September 11, 2001, I was in my English class when I first heard the news about the attack on the World Trade Centers. We later saw the images on TV of the smoking towers. Over the next class period, students were picked up by their parents. My brother and I both went to the same school in D.C. and our mom, a teacher, came to take us to her school, only 15 minutes away. I remember watching TV and seeing more coverage of the Towers in one of the classrooms while the younger students played around me as I sat on a desk. Then I started thinking about the victims and their families and friends who were affected and began to cry.
I remember when my mom came to the playground during recess, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time. She asked me how my day was going and if I was okay. “Of course I am!” I said to her, confused. Seeing, I guess, that I was happy, she left. But I remember the solemn look on her face – it was the same face that so many of my teachers wore that day. But I didn’t understand, not yet at least. I didn’t understand even when my math teacher explained what had happened to my class, tears streaming down her cheeks. I thought, “It will be fixed by tomorrow.” It wasn’t until I got home and saw the images on CNN of a plane smashing through a building that I started to understand that America was had been attacked, and that everything had changed.
On my fifth grade field trip to the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service museum (JAARS), I learned more than I wanted to know about airplanes. Before my class field trip I really only knew airplanes as the way I got to Cancun with my family last spring break, the two men on the popcorn box, or the back of a North Carolina license plate. At the JAARS museum I saw how missionaries used their planes to take Bibles to Papua New Guinea and Brazil. But on the bus ride back, my eleven-year-old self learned that bad men could fly planes full of people into the biggest, most important buildings in New York City, and how that could change my teacher’s face.
I was a sixth grader living in South Carolina at the time and I first heard about it in Miss Dowling’s Pre-Algebra class. But all they told us then was that there was a plane crash. No further details. After lunch, I was in Miss Owens’ Social Studies class when I learned everything. We watched the news for the entire period. I still didn’t believe it could be terrorists. Why would somebody do such a thing like that? My mom wasn’t happy about my disbelief. I had to write sentences saying something like “Terrorists are responsible for this terrible tragedy.” It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I finally accepted what had happened.
For lots more on Sept. 11 remembrance at Elon, visit elonpendulum.com.